• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Trait Approaches

Extracts from this document...


Question: Which theoretical perspective do you think offers the best explanation of crime? On what basis did you arrive at your decision? Answer: When delinquents commit crime many people question whether the offender is physically or mentally abnormal, has any intelligence or a personality that reflects their abnormal behaviour. These psychological trait theories (approaches) are all linked to ones human behaviour (Wilson, Herrnstain 2007, p 33-34). Undoubtedly these theories reflect society's common conception that most criminals lack intelligence, are emotionally unstable and cannot mentally control themselves. Unlike choice theories, where people make rational decisions on whether a certain crime is worth the reward they are risking for, and sociological theories, based on whether a person's behaviour is affected by the environment they live in, trait theories focus on psychological factors that individuals may have little control over (Regoli 2007 p86). Research has found that low intelligence and crime can be strongly linked together (Quay 1987). Spanish physician Juan Harte defined, "intelligence" as the ability to learn, exercise judgement, and be imaginative. Over the years many scientists have studied and developed tests that have measured our intelligence. One of the earliest experiments undertaken by Charles Goring who studied 3,000 English convicts showed that crime was linked with low intelligence. Older methods that were used to find out ones intelligence included measuring one's skull size and testing their ability to memorise. ...read more.


I myself did not know what an, 'id' was before further investigation? There are not many empirical tests and there is no compelling evidence that suggest psychoanalytic theories effect criminal behaviour. Another theory of personality created by Hans Eysenck focused on three significant functions of personality - psychoticism (P), neuroticism (N), and extraversion (E). Eysenck developed a personality questionnaire where results determined certain traits connected with the three temperaments. Those who scores reflected Psychoticism, are likely to be aggressive, careless, uncompassionate, manipulative and troublesome. High extraversion scorers are likely to be, irresponsible, social, optimistic, active and impulsive. High neuroticism scorers are likely to be, anxious, depressed, restless, rigid and moody. People who scored high on all three temperaments were likely to have a greater chance of antisocial behaviour while those who scored low on all three temperaments, had a smaller chance of committing criminal behaviour (Feldman 1993). Researchers continued to perform tests that showed how personality was linked with criminal behaviour. Criminologists, Eleanor and Sheldon Glueck used Hermann Rorschach inkblot test, which is still currently used in forensics to determine the personality traits of people, on a group of a thousand youths. 500 of them were delinquents and the other 500 were non delinquents. Results from the test showed that those in the delinquent group had personality problems which made them feel dejected and unstable. ...read more.


Hollin, C 1989, 'Psychology and crime: an introduction to criminological psychology', Routledge, p112-113. Johnson, JG & Cohen, P & Smailes, E & Kasen, S & Oldham, JM & Skodol, AE & Brook, JS 2000, 'Adolescent personality disorders associated with violence and criminal behaviour during adolescence and early adulthood', 'American journal of psychiatry' 157: 1406-1412. Krupinski, J & Stoller, A 1971, 'The health of a metropolis', Heinemann Educational: Australia. Kline, P 1987, 'Psychoanalysis and Crime', in B J McGurk, D M Thornton & M Williams (eds), Applying Psychology to Imprisonment: Theory and Practice, HMSO, London, p59-75. Lipsitt, P & Buka, S & Lipsitt, L 1990, 'Early intelligence scores and subsequent delinquency: A prospective study', 'American Journal of Family Therapy 18', p 197-208. Lykken, D 1996, 'Psychopathy, sociopathy, and crime', 'Society 34', p 30-38. Menard, S & Morse B 2000, 'A structuralist Critique of the IQ- Delinquency Hypothesis', 'American Journal of Sociology 89, p 1347-1378. News Limited, 2009, 'ABS says half of Australians suffer mental illness at some point', viewed Thursday 7th of May, 2009, <http://www.news.com.au/story/0,,25244189-36398,00.html> Ogloff, J & Davis M, & Rivers, G & Ross S 2007, 'The Identification of Mental Disorders in the Criminal Justice System', Trends and issues in crime and criminal justice, No 4, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra. Quay, H 1987, Handbook of Juvenile Delinquency, Wiley, New York. Regoli, R 2007, 'Exploring Criminal Justice', Jones & Bartlett Publishers: p86. Richman, N & Stevenson, J & Graham, P 1982,'Pre school to school: A behavioural study', London, Academic Press. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Criminology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Criminology essays

  1. Compare positivist approaches to crime with at least two other perspectives discussed in the ...

    Some of the studies related to this theory are: Twin studies, criminal family studies and adoption studies. Genetic theory perceives crime as the result of abnormalities in one's genetic structure. These abnormalities are predominantly related to the s*x chromosomes (Alexiadis, 2004:54).

  2. Term paper of criminology

    Adults should present factual information about the consequences of these acts. We have to pay closer attention to programs which strengthen the family or teach parents better ways to install law-abiding values in their children3. Firstly, crime rates are low in neighbourhoods that are socially integrated, because attachments of individuals

  1. Research proposal

    Most of the theoretical data that I managed to get hold of was on information gathered in the early 1980s to mid 90s. Changes within the society as well as technology means that the above factors might not be as accurate as to why women do not leave their abusive husbands.

  2. Using Hirschis (1969) social bond theory to analyse the drug detoxification camp run by ...

    me, because I saw her walk difficultly for such long distance with her stick to come to Long Ke for just seeing me." He said. And he promised himself that he would not abuse drugs again, simply for his mother's move.

  1. Criminal Psychology: Rehabilitating Offenders are there better methods to achieve this?

    Module four includes participants learning a number of skills to enable them to communicate more effectively with others, even in response to any potential provocation (Crown 2004). Module five includes providing a framework for applying the skills learned so far to other emotions which can lead to problematic or offending

  2. Explore how both sociology and social psychology can help us to understand anti-social behaviour

    to commit acts of anti-social behaviour are given more one to one time and attention in school which they may lack at home or funding after school clubs in a way that children may be more inclined to see as cool which provides low income children with somewhere to go rather than loitering the streets for fun.

  1. The origins of the criminological imagination lay with C. Wright Mills and his book ...

    However, the importance of the connections between biography and history allows much debate. There must be a realistic evaluation of the conditions of crime and conflicting behaviour in society occurs. The criminological imagination also installs debates on crime and punishment with a more of a common sense approach (Barton, Corteen, Scott, and Whyte 2007).

  2. Perceptions of wrongful convictions amongst Americans working in the criminal justice system.

    By properly sanctioning the offender, justice is also achieved for the victim. The individual victim, after seeing an offender punished for the wrong that was done, gains a sense of retribution and justice. Of course, the ?victim? of crime can also be defined as all the participants in society who

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work